Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Cheongju Cough

After being in South Korea for a month or so I developed what would come to be called the Cheongju Cough. Every foreigner I knew who lived in Cheongju had it at one time or another. It never really seemed to go away completely. It would vanish for a time and then come back. We just ended up calling it the Cheongju Cough but foreigners I knew who lived all over Korea had it.

I got sick a lot in Korea. Some of it can be written off to teaching kids. Other times due to environmental factors such as "yellow dust" or just plain old air pollution. I got a LOT of sinus infections living in Korea which my ENT Doctor blamed on the air pollution. Then there was cellulitis. I got that at least once a year my last 4 years in Korea. The 1st time was the worst because I didn't know what it was and ignored it for a long time. According to my doctor cellulitis is common in Korea. I blame the damn mosquitoes while my doctor blamed bug bites and ... pollution. No wonder so many Koreans wear surgical masks when they go outside.

I have been home almost a year now. It will be a full year a week from now. Since I have returned I haven't really been sick. I haven't had any major sinus infections. I haven't had any cellulitis. Hell, I even shed a lot of weight. Strangely enough, with my 1 year anniversary home looming, this is one of the first things that came to mind.


  1. I remember that cough. I had it for months after my first year. It just went on and on. For a while there, the phlegm I brought up was black, which says something about what I was breathing.

  2. Have you had the cough since going home?

  3. That damned cough! It gets worse during the yellow sand months and seems to hang on for a long time afterwards.

    I'm sure the pollution here is the cause of my skin aging so rapidly too. When I first came here I looked about 10 years younger than my real age, but in two years I feel like I've aged 20 years just because of the crappy air quality (I'm right in the middle of Seoul) and so now I look a decade older than my real age. I sometimes wonder if moving back to Canada would reverse the aging process and maybe I'd go back to looking younger again.

  4. Moving back has me a lot healthier than I was in the last 10 years.